We don't see too many portable storage solutions come out of PNY, so when they mentioned a new drive was ready for market, I immediately had to get my hands-on one.
The Pro Elite appears to be the only portable solution currently in PNY's portfolio. It is a small form factor solution that uses USB 3.2 Gen 2 with a Type-C connection. Capacity options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB model, all offering 865 MB/s read and 875 MB/s write per marketing.
Compatibility includes Linux, macOS, and Windows platforms with an MSRP of $79.99 for the 500GB solution in house. This solution is backed by a three-year warranty.
Packaging shares capacity and marketing performance in bold print, an image of the drive up above.
Unboxing the drive, we have both USB-C and Type-A cables, the drive to the left offers an aluminum exterior with a plastic chassis.
Internally, the Pro Elite has a very interesting build, using two Phison S11 drives in a pseudo RAID mode to reach the 875 MB/s performance level.
CDM is a staple in performance testing; version 7 has seen some updates in the workloads used for testing. Performance for the PNY start outs fresh at 874 MB/s read and 754 MB/s write. 4KQ1 is quite low at 14 MB/s read, and 35 MB/s write.
We see rather stable performance in ATTO for a RAID setup; the PNY does the best 128K through 64M.
New to our testing is a 200GB data transfer that aims to weed out drives that lose performance during backup scenarios. In this case, the PNY Pro Elite is quite possibly the worst drive we have seen. It took over an hour to transfer 200GB of data, at a rate of 53 MB/s.
Price/Performance wasn't too bad; the drive received a score of 89% based on a solid price point.
The Pro Elite is an interesting solution that has solid aesthetics and seemingly average build quality with a few underlying hardware choices that are questionable. In the current market, I think the last drive I reviewed to use this "RAID" design was the Extreme 900 years ago, making this choice seem even odder is PNY using two DRAMless drives.
Performance of the Pro Elite is quite good in sequential canned benchmarks like CDM and ATTO, though ATTO does show some of the erratic behavior. The 200GB file transfer test tanked the Pro Elite from 700 MB/s to 53MB/s within minutes making for an hour-long session waiting for the bench to finish. That said, Price/Performance is rather good for the PNY with a solid market price.
Pricing of the PNY Pro Elite is well within expectations, at $79.99 this solution matches comparable portable SSDs, just be sure to keep your transfers short to limit to the risk of falling off disk cache.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Carbide 275R (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
The Pro Elite has its issues, but it's not too terrible if you keep your long file transfers to a minimum.